Paedophile teenager tried to ‘cover his tracks’ but failed

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A teenage paedophile tried to "cover his tracks" after downloading child rape photos at his parents' home.

Jordan Mitchell, then 19, used specialist computer software in an attempt to keep his sick obsession a secret.

He also deleted the disturbing pictures of toddlers and infants being sexually abused after he had viewed them.

But he failed to hide his identity completely and when police raided his home they found 427 indecent images.

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Liverpool Crown Court heard police received intelligence that an IP address traced to Mitchell's home was being used to download indecent images.

Derek Jones, prosecuting, said as a result officers raided Mitchell's family's address in Darmonds Green Avenue, Anfield on June 24 last year.

Mr Jones said: "He was in with his parents and the defendant indicated to the police that he knew why they were there."

Officers seized an iPhone and a desktop computer from his bedroom, with the majority of the illegal files being recovered from his mobile.

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Mr Jones said: "The defendant was using what he now confirms in his interview was Tor browser to cover his tracks – a VPN.

"He was clearly accessing indecent images on websites, looking at the images and deleting them."

Tor browser software provides access to the 'Dark Web' and can also be used to hide online or other computer activity.

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Mr Jones said no record of online searches he had made were present on the devices.

However, he said it could be seen that the then teenager had visited websites with names referring to "Lolita" and "jail bait".

He had 36 Category A – the most serious category showing child rape – 140 Category B and 251 Category C indecent images of children.

Mr Jones said the photos showed children "some as young as between two and four, five to six, six to seven".

The prosecutor said: "He was interviewed by the police and full admissions were made by him to downloading the images.

"He accepted that he used Tor browser to try and cover his tracks when he was looking at these websites."

Mr Jones said sentencing guidelines suggested a starting point of 12 months' custody, with a sentencing range of 26 weeks to three years in custody, for the Category A files.

Mitchell, now 20, who has no previous convictions, admitted four counts of possessing indecent images of children.

Jeremy Hawthorn, defending, said his client entered his guilty plea at the earliest opportunity before magistrates.

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He said Mitchell had "cooperated at all stages", from assisting police when he was arrested to attending a voluntary interview and court when summoned, then taking part in a probation interview by phone, which he said was "potentially the most difficult because you're talking to someone you don't know about something very embarrassing".

Mr Hawthorn said Mitchell had "limited work history" but hoped to become a car mechanic after two years' studying at college in Bootle.

The lawyer added: "He's also a reasonably experienced but self-taught guitar player."

Mr Hawthorn said a pre-sentence report "expressed reservations" about some of Mitchell's attitudes.

He said: "The court will hope whatever attitude problems Mr Mitchell has are ones that are capable of being challenged and rehabilitated."

Jordan Mitchell tried to hide the vile photos of children he downloaded online

Mr Hawthorn said the Probation Service recommended Mitchell take part in a Horizon sex offenders treatment programme and added that Mitchell had already "taken steps to use the internet a little bit less compulsively and to make himself more useful around the house, which his mother is doing up".

Judge Anil Murray said the young age of the children pictured was an aggravating feature of the case but in mitigation Mitchell was of previous good character, made admissions, tried to change his lifestyle and hadn't offended since.

He said: "The pre-sentence report says you're remorseful and you show victim empathy. It's thought you're a medium risk of committing further sexual offences but you're unlikely to cause serious sexual harm."

The judge said as he was considered to be "a prospect for rehabilitation" and had no history of failing to comply with court orders, he could suspend his eight-month prison sentence for two years.

He ordered Mitchell to carry out the Horizon programme and a 60-day Rehabilitation Activity Requirement.

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Mitchell must also sign on the Sex Offenders Register and comply with a Sexual Harm Prevention Order for 10 years.

Judge Murray reserved any breaches of the orders to himself and said if he saw Mitchell again, he would likely send him to jail.

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